Julia Fox's Feminism Has Something to Sell | @Jouelzy
She dated Kanye because she thought that she could distract him from harassing Kim Kardashian. That her vein of feminism, of a need for political change, said, oh, I see this celebrity harassing his celebrity ex wife. Maybe if I give him the cooch and date him, I can get him to stop harassing this one woman. What a activist. Julia the ally, buy her book. Hey, guys, it's Jouelzy.
I can't believe we have gotten to the end of 2022 somehow. This has been the longest, shortest, most chaotic year of my life. Wow. I hope everyone's doing well. I wanted to discuss Julia Fox, who has come to be the newest capital h feminist queen from her simply posting slightly witty takes on TikTok. And I want to talk about it because, honestly, Julia fox absolutely represents all the ways I despise that people often reduce black feminism, which I definitely see myself as a black feminist. I believe in black feminist theory, but people are inclined to reduce black feminism, and a canon of black feminist theory, reducing it simply to capital 'F' feminism.
And what I mean by capital 'F' feminism is really the feminism that is rooted in white womanhood. It is the mainstream version of feminism that is the most easy to commodify, therefore the most easily packaged, and is almost always represented by an 8.5 x 11 woman. And the foundational theory of black feminism differs so greatly if we went against the academic terms of first and second wave feminism, that it really gives me the ick. And Julia fox represents said ick.
And I think the way that it's been so easy for her to be platformed, the way she then pushes back against public critique, particularly around her relationship with Kanye West, that can you believe it actually happened? At the beginning of this year when I was putting together this video, for some reason I thought they dated, like last year. No, it was at the beginning of this year. It was quick, it was brief, it was chaotic, and it was all over the news and really kind of lifted Julia Fox into the mainstream discussion. And then her TikTok videos have quickly garnered her a large audience of young women talking about, queen and I love you, and you represent everything that's so great. And babes, there's no actual politic.
There's no actual critical discourse or engagement. It's all vibes and commodification. We're actually going to keep this video a little light because the tread between Julia Fox and the commodification of feminism is so clear. We don't need to even get into too many academic texts to make our point here.
This is going to be a good one. But shout out to Audible for making this possible. As you know, it's the end of the semester. Whoa. We barely survived girl! Between grad school and running a book club! We are still reading Gloria Naylor's Mama Day.
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So again, use my link audible.com/jouelzy, or text "Jouelzy" to 500-500 and get your first month free. Now let's get into this drag of one Julia Fox. To bring this back to feminism versus black feminism. Hazel Carby in Reconstructing Womanhood, the first chapter, which is entitled "Rethinking Black Feminist Theory," Carby actually challenges the impulse in contemporary women's movements to discover a lost sisterhood and reestablish feminist solidarity. Individual white women helped publish and promote individual black women.
But the texts of black women, from ex-slave Harriet Jacobs to educator Anna Julia Cooper, are testaments to the racist practices of the suffrage and temperance movements and indictments in which white women allied themselves not with black women, but with racist patriarchal order against all black people. Only by confronting this history of difference can we hope to understand the boundaries that separate white feminists from women of color. Later in this chapter, Hazel Carby goes on to challenge Barbara Smith's essay, I believe it's "Towards A Black Feminist Criticism." Carby read Smith as seeking a solidarity between prominent white feminists and a call to action that we come together as a community. And Carby was like, babes, hold on, hold on, hold on. We can't be in community with these women until they own the damage they've done.
And fast forward, we're 20-30 years later, girl. 30, 40 years later. I got to get my decades right. This was published in the 1970s. That's 50 years ago. Wow. Okay, we like 50 years into this, right? The last couple of election cycles, we've been seeing how you white women have been voting all that ra-ra-ra on the internet.
You all buying into some antiracist campaigns, giving single black women the bag, but then throwing the rest of us under the bus. Girl, I don't think we've confronted the history of difference and the boundaries that separate white feminists from black feminists. I don't think we've done that at all. And I do still think that white women are deeply invested in the racist patriarchal order against black people. Julia Fox I see you, girl.
You can get on Ziwe... What's that do for me? And this is pretty much the basis of how I view most women who become feminist icons in the mainstream preview even for nonwhite women who become celebrities of a feminist cause, oftentimes I see their politic is at best neutral and at worst still invested in some frame of white patriarchal order. Let's actually discuss who is Julia Fox because all of us are not doom scrolling for hours on end on TikTok. Julia Fox is an Italian American actress who was born in 1990. In 2019, she starred in the Adam Sandler film Uncut Gems. She was married in 2018, divorced by 2020, had a child with this ex-husband in 2021, and then by December of 2021, she was in some sort of fledgling relationship with one Kanye West.
Now, Julia Fox has stated that she is OCD, ADHD and autistic, therefore she would classify herself as neurodivergent. To give a timeline of the Kanye era in which Julia Fox is entering into: in October of 2021, Kanye has taken up harassing his ex-wife, Kim Kardashian over her relationship with Pete Davidson. And if we recall, this gets quite nasty, personal, violent very quickly on the part of Kanye.
And Julia Fox and Kanye are meeting around this time. They are confirmed to be dating in January of 2022, in part because of an article written by Fox for Interview magazine where she says, his energy is just so fun to be around. January 2022... Man! She does a lot of interviewing in a very short period of time because honestly, the relationship itself was quite short. But on the Forbidden Fruits podcast, she commented on the similarity of her personality with Kanye: "I feel like to the people who know us both personally, like all the people that we have in common, like friends in common, have texted me, like, oh my God, this makes so much sense!" Profound, illuminating, enlightening.
Their first public outing is actually on January 22 of 2022 at Paris Fashion Week. We've all seen the, who hasn't seen the all-denim outfits that they wore with her very thick black eye makeup? Now, if we rewind back very briefly January 14 of 2022, Kanye releases a song, My Life Was Never Easy, which includes some disses towards Pete Davidson, such as the line, "God saved me from the crash just so I can beat Pete Davidson's ass." Wow, a poet. Through March of 2022, Kanye is continually mocking and making threats against Davidson. They have a wild back-and-forth that largely spans from through the fall of 2021 into the spring of 2022. And then in the midst of this, Julia Fox* comes in.
They start dating sometime around December, and then they officially announce their breakup in February of 2022 after Kanye makes public pleas for reconciliation and to get Kim back. I mean, I feel like this is going to be a very short video because honestly, there's really not a whole lot to discuss about Julia Fox, a very short instance in our memories. But to me, it just gives...hmm! Julia morphs into this feminist TikTok queen when she pivots her TikTok branding. So in August of 2022, Julia has bleached her eyebrows blonde, switched up her TikTok approach to life advice and hot takes, and is immediately heralded as like, this feminist icon, including articles such as "Julia Fox Is In Her Hot Take Era and It's Inspiring." What's most glaring to me about Julia Fox and the way that she's so easily able to position herself as a feminist icon and truly for her own personal gain, is she gives these little witty hot takes about not feeding into the male gaze, about how she's okay with being ugly.
This is intermixed with videos about her Italian heritage and she was born in Italy and the natural plumpness that she has, the fat and the correct regions. Girl, it's just a thing of my culture. I got a fat ass. Basically intermix was, oh, because I dyed my eyebrows blonde, I am participating in not feeding into the male gaze. Profound, really, but her ability to opt into the ugly, right? She is not, by mainstream standards, defined as ugly. She is not castrated for her lack of ability to feed into a European standard of beauty.
As a matter of fact, Julia Fox herself, in her natural being, fits very divinely into what the European standard of beauty, which is how our mainstream standard of beauty is even understood. She is at the top of that hierarchy. And so for her to publicly proclaim that she is opting into the ugly. It's reminiscent of what bell hooks calls the commodification of otherness. hook, who references Donna Harroway's essay, a Manifesto of Cyborgs, cautions against the mainstream feminist impetus to take on politics that appear to be the telos of the whole, but is still rooted in a phobia of transnational allyship.
This essay is also heavily referenced in Legacy Russell's Glitch Feminism, a more contemporary read that also talks about the commodification of mainstream feminism that takes on these surface level causes, but really is obscuring the harm that's done to many of the women who exist outside of the binary of white womanhood. It's all for profit, and it allows individual players to come about and trumpet the horn as if they have this great politic and they're really an ally and somehow just simply saying things and being witty, in interviews and in 30-second TikToks. Means that they have like a really meaningful approach to political change. And in the end, all they're doing is selling us t-shirts, books and other products. Buy my shirt.
Now what really put Julia Fox on my radar because largely when she popped up on TikTok, she was getting serviced on my for you page. I would see her reshared, kind of in jest on Twitter but you know what I mean. I don't do the sunless on my for you page so I was not interested even though I feel like that not interested button on TikTok don't really be working.
If they decide that they want to platform somebody typically of the...it's going to keep pushing their content to your page. But what really kind of put her into my preview where I was like, let me look into this, is Julia got into a bristle with a young white queer creator who goes by the name Bela on their instagram and other social media.
They have their pronouns as she/her on TikTok. They are masculine presenting, but we're just going to honor the pronouns that they have listed. Now, Bela has been an easy, easy target for the "feminist" outrage circuit. I think in part because of how they present.
They're scrawny, they don't have the aesthetics of wealth. They are masculine presenting and they look corny, if we're being honest here. But Bela has become an easy target for this sort of feminist outrage circuit that exists on TikTok.
And at the time was in a row over a song they had published entitled "Annoying Ass Bitch." I don't understand. This is why capital "F feminism is not my thing, because you are going after this person over the use of bitch in their title, as if bitch holds the same sort of harmful weight as like, I don't know, the n-word with the hard "er". And Bela is going back and forth with these white feminists talking about how their use of bitch is really just a colloquial reference to everyone. They're a bitch. You a bitch. She a bitch, he a bitch, they a bitch, everybody.
It's not a gendered term or reference in their song, but in a TikTok where Bela is defending her song because bitch applies to all peoples of all genders as they position it. Julia comments: "babe, you should just get out of the house more." And I will say Julia's videos at this point in time were not ending up on my for you page. What did end up on my for you page is Bela's video response in which she refers to Julia's sex as a pork chop while kicking off a video by admonishing Julia for dating Kanye.
And how dare you jump into this critique of me when you have never answered for dating a full-on bigot who was harassing his ex-wife and being violent to her current lover and you were in the background just getting a photo op and a bag while getting your pork chop poked by him, essentially, was the reference. You were proudly banging Kanye West, a once very vocal Donald Trump supporter, while he was simultaneously running an extremely aggressive harassment campaign against his ex-wife. He was likely hate tweeting her while in bed with you.
You sold out every single last one of your feminist morals when you decided to play dress up with Kim Kardashian sloppy seconds. Yet you want to come into my comments section not even a year later to play the misogyny slaying messiah because I playfully used the word bitch in a song? So you mean to tell me you were willing to lay down and get your pork chop penetrated by a 45 year old man who once actually called a woman a bitch as an insult, took credit for her fame, framed her as a liar, and proceeded to order a custom naked sculpture of her? Yet when I say the word in a joking manner, that's where you draw a line in the sand of detestability. You're a fucking joke, and you stand for nothing.
Not to mention the absolutely repulsive things he said about Amber Rose. You are not just a clown, Julia Fox. You are an entire carnival. And your only remotely notable ride is the one you took on yeezy's drop tower to increasingly irrelevant stardom.
By the way, I'll have you know, I get out of the house plenty. Unlike some people, I have to actually work for a living and baby the backlash, I will say, quite a few black creators. I giggled. I might have cackled. I might have had a little key, and I scrolled right on past it because I was like, you know what? This is white people drama.
This ain't for me. This ain't my business. I said a he-he-he and flipped it on.
But almost immediately, and it's not even that I'm saying, like, only white women on TikTok because I saw plenty of women of color, right, who were invested in defending Julia and who quickly...TikTok is great for outrage. It moves so quick and so fast and so vast, but on one frame, it was you're being misogynistic. The misogyny, the misogyny of calling her a pork chop is out of this world. And then that women should not have to answer for the bad behavior of men.
Reducing someone's sex to an animal product is actually offensive. I don't have to answer for cackling but maybe we can offer this criticism wholeheartedly to Bela that is peddling in misogyny. But this idea that Julia could not be challenged for claiming to have a feminist politics so quickly after dating someone who was engaging in such violent behavior before they partnered with them while they partnered with them, and then have nothing to say about that relationship other than using it for the benefits of heightening your own visibility. As if we cannot question or have any critical discourse about Julia's actions because don't challenge her for the men she dates. Don't challenge any woman for the man she dates.
Oh, man, that's just such capital f feminism, where you see white women in particular platform themselves and brand themselves as holding some sort of feminist, anti misogyny, antisexism even antiracist politics, and then they go on and date January 6 type boys, okay, did you know where your boyfriend was at on January 6? You dating men who are full on neo nazis, and then somehow nobody should question your politics because who you date has nothing to do with your politics. There is a vein, a black feminist theory that I do agree with, that everything we do is political, and that relationships, most of all, who we choose to partner with in private, spend our intimate lives with, especially because of how heteronormative American society and American politics are, is most definitely political babes. And honestly, I think the only real reason why we get a good push back on argument about don't blame women for the bad behavior of men just because that's our boyfriends or husbands is what they're really saying, is don't blame me for the bad behavior, even though I still by his side and I'ma ride for him because don't hurt my income. Don't hurt my ability to profit from espousing this politic, even though in my real life, I have no investment in maintaining that politic.
That's what that's giving. Within the fallout from Bela's response to Julia fFox, Bela very quickly became the representation of all misogyny. I mean, as with everything, the outrage machine that TikTok is deeply invested in, it quickly made it like a clusterf*ck. There was no productive conversation to have rather quickly, because it doesn't even become about, hey, we should be careful about the language we invest in and how violence can move through our language, rather than it just became about dunking on Bela, and them being a cornball and misogynistic. And somehow that one statement they made of Julia became a representative of the harm of misogyny. And again, I think this is also another facet of commodification, of feminism, in that it becomes very easy to dunk on one creator and not ever critically engage with how misogyny truly does move through our society or even just through our discourse and how we all have had some sort of investment in misogynistic rhetoric and that at the least, we can be more thoughtful in how we engage in these discourses, particularly online.
And we could all be more thoughtful in this respect, and that that thoughtfulness might actually produce a modicum of societal change. No, even that is too tall of a task. That's too much work. It's too much labor. It's much easier to stitch comment, do it, whatever on TikTok and just be mad at Bela about misogyny rather than challenging the patriarchy in real life. What do I know? Within all this chaos, there was still a very clear pushback, particularly from black creators, about Julia.
That Julia...should... About not obscuring the very valid critique of Julia. You just dated Kanye West, who was deep in the bag of his violent bigoted era, and you profited from that relationship. And now all of a sudden, you've just, in the matter of a couple of months, pivoted to feminist icon and never answered for what your association to that man meant.
And I guess the critique got loud enough. It's coming out around the same time that her interview with comedian Ziwe is being published. And so you're sitting down with this black woman comedian talking about allyship and antiracism and LGBTQIA+ allyship and rights and yada, yada, yada. You're trying to champion yourself again as the feminist icon queen who's just so thoughtful. Julia the ally.
Buy my book! It makes sense that you felt the need to respond to the people that were saying you need to answer, that you owe your audience some sort of reflection on your association with Kanye. And in her response, she essentially said that she was going to put.. She was going to put it in her book. But I'll tell you now...very rich. Very rich.
I was just going to write about it in my book and then I'll be able to buy it. But I'll just tell you guys for free. The man was being normal around me. And not only that, but the Kardashians, when I had a fashion line ten years ago, they actually bought our clothes and sold them in their stores. So I've always had a love for Kim, especially and even Kourtney especially all of them, pretty much. But no, like the big three.
Khloe, Kourtney, those are my girls. Anyway, so by the time me and him got together, it was like he hadn't been doing anything out there yet. The only thing he had done was changed the name in the song and said, come back to me, Kimberly. That was like, really the only thing when we met.
But I remember just being like he was texting me. I wasn't really answering. I was like, I don't really want to talk up with the celebrity again. You know what I mean? Nothing ever comes of it.
It's like, they're kind of boring. They're not what you think they're going to be like. But he kept going and going, and he was like, do you have bad text etiquette? And then I was like, oh, my God, he's yelling at me, like, what do I do? But then I had this thought, and I was like, oh, my God, maybe I can get him off of Kim's, off Kim's case. Like, maybe I can distract him, like, just get him to like me. And I knew.
I was like, if anyone can do it, it's me. Because when I set my mind to something, I do it. And I will say that that month that we spent together. He wasn't on twitter, first of all. He wasn't on any forms of social media.
He didn't even talk about his relationship. We only really talked about clothes and, like, weird ideas and plans for the future and our hopes and dreams for childhood and education. And it was really beautiful, guys. The moment he started tweeting, I was out. And that's the thing. It's like the media reported on our relationship, I think, like a week after it happened or something.
So during that week, I think you guys all thought we were together, but we weren't. I'd already been like, dude, I'm not going to stick around for this shit. And also, I realized pretty quickly that he wasn't going to take my help. I was like, I want to help him. I want to help him.
I sounded almost as dumb as you guys saying that I should have done something to stop him from saying, like, what? But anyway, I was delusional. I thought I could help him. Anyway, it didn't work, and now we're here. But that being said, really deeply respect the man as an artist. I don't want to shit on that.
I don't want to reduce his whole career to his really bad moments. The funniest thing about this whole thing is that if women really didn't date men that upheld patriarchal values or didn't date men that were misogynistic or had problematic views or did problematic things in the past or had said problematic things in the past, there would be no men left to date? I don't know what was giving more white woman feminist. Was it that the admission that she was originally going to put her reflections on her relationship with Yay and dating Yay in her book, meaning you should buy it in order to get the t, okay, commodification profitability, stick to it. CIS. Or that she dated Kanye because she thought that she could distract him from harassing Kim Kardashian, that her vein of feminism, of a need for political change, said, oh, I see this celebrity harassing his celebrity ex wife.
Maybe if I give him the cooch and date him, I can get him to stop harassing this one woman. What an activist. What an activist Julia truly is. Wow. Julia the ally. Buy her book! Julia represents such a crystal clear line of capital f feminism and its commodification in the mainstream. Capital f feminism is so easy to commodify because it's so easy to digest.
It holds no real political challenge. It's actually rather political. Neutral, ask for no material change and is always ready to sell you something. Oftentimes, even when it does seem like it's pushing forward to get a little zesty with that little me too movement, it's still reinvesting in systems of harm. And not again, part of promoting a theory or a radical change is that you do have to hold things in contention.
There does have to be a moment where we we get in the living room and struggle. You know, I was a shout out to June Jordan from my previous video on BLM. We're in our critical bag here. Go watch that video.
But also that there is a period of uncomfortableness your politics, especially if you're going to claim that your politic is calling for political radical change, whatever kind of change, change is not comfortable. And at some point, your theoretical or political approach should also have you be critical of the way that you engage with broader society, that you should be more thoughtful, that you should think broader and more critically about how your actions and the things you do. And the position that you hold in this world is part of a broader societal fabric, especially when you hold so much privilege as Julia Fox does. But I get it. That is a really lofty ask that I am making for people to take on even this very low level of thoughtfulness in how they critically engage. But it's much easier to just buy into the capital at feminism when it's right there.
The branding is right there. The agents are right there. The book deals, the TV shows, the interviews, they're all right there for your taking, especially when you present, when you fit into this very specific binary of white womanhood and you can move in and out just by making claims of having a broader politic without showing the action.
You can then be heralded as a feminist queen in the process of capital F feminism always being ready to sell you on something. The process of that sale often obscures the harm it reinvested in by not challenging systems of oppression, by not calling out for any material change, and by holding on to an apolitical stance and recentering those who make white women comfortable. I don't think that there is really any feminist politic between, you know, the two earlobes of Julia Fox. I think there is a comfort that she provides with people who want to feel as if they've done the thinking, but they just want to keep scrolling on TikTok. It's really a shame, because as much as I can make light of this, as much as I can make jokes about this, the act of silencing and erasure of minority groups is hidden under the sale of quirky t shirts and mugs. That's all I got for now.
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